Reducing the risk of sports concussions


by Rachel Platt

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 11:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 11:52 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – These are the faces of concussions – three different students, three different sports, all with their own story.

It’s checkup day for Brandon Ford.

Dr. Tad Seifert, the director of Norton’s Sports Concussion Program, followed up with Brandon who took a nasty hit in spring football practice in March.

No helmet is concussion proof and it's not necessarily the blow itself that causes the brain injury, it’s actually the brain shaking in the head that causes the injury.

It's crucial that Brandon is symptom free before playing again, a 2nd hit could cause those symptoms to last even longer.

Dr. Seifert is putting Brandon through a series of tests.

Being sensitive to light is one symptom, headaches another and so is difficulty remembering --- Brandon is given five words to repeat back. He's able to remember most of them.

There’s progress from the last visit and then one final test – a physical one checking balance.

Brandon is on the verge of getting cleared to play football again.

Football may be the obvious sport you think of with concussions but it was a collision on the basketball court that sidelined the promising career of a basketball player at Assumption.

At 6-foot-6-inches, Nora Kiesler gets plenty of attention, even from big name schools.

She's back on the court practicing with her team and for the first time today, she’s ready to watch video of the hit that took her out in January.

She was having the game of her life against arch rival Sacred Heart when she collided with another player.

One of her coaches slowing down the video to catch it.

No one picked up on the collision, not even her coach until Nora came down the court dropping to one knee.

Neither did her mother who was told her daughter had no idea where she was.

Women have concussions at a higher rate because their neck strength is not typically as great as a man's not absorbing as much force.

For Nora, it was a severe concussion. She had to have complete brain rest for about two weeks before easing back into school.

After three months Nora looks fine now but it was a slow recovery on the court and in the classroom.

Assumption was ahead of the game with a policy easing students back into the curriculum.

Hayley Lutz suffered her concussion during cheerleading practice in 2012.

Her senior picture all smiles, but says her recovery also slow and at times, even misunderstood.

She found it difficult to juggle school and cheer so she gave up the latter.

Dr. Seifert says no two concussions are the same, neither is the recovery but says there is one constant for all athletes.

Listen to the symptoms, and tell the truth about them.

For Nora and her mother there are many lessons learned.

Taking it slowly means Nora is back in the game with dozens of colleges knocking on her door like Purdue, Stanford and the University of Louisville.

It's a game she's been playing since she was 3, a game she's not ready to give up.

Thanks to playing it smart with her recovery, she won't have to find out.

For more information on concussions, click here for info.